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Bahrain: medical personnel must have unimpeded access to the injured

17-03-2011 News Release 11/61

Geneva/Kuwait (ICRC) – Against the backdrop of recent events in Bahrain, it is especially important that all injured persons have safe and unhindered access to medical care, and that all medical facilities and personnel are spared the effects of the violence, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today.

"We are very concerned about the escalation of violence, which has led to more deaths and to scores of people being injured over the past few days," said Gérard Peytrignet, who heads the ICRC's regional delegation for the Gulf countries in Kuwait. The escalation occurred while forces from Gulf Cooperation Council countries intervened under a regional common defence agreement, and a state of emergency was imposed. "Injured people, and medical personnel, vehicles and facilities, must be respected and protected by all. Security forces must apply international standards governing the use of force in their efforts to restore law and order. In addition, all people arrested and detained must at all times be treated humanely and held in decent conditions."

An ICRC staff member from the organization's regional delegation in Kuwait arrived in Bahrain yesterday to join the Bahrain Red Crescent Society in assessing needs. After street protests took place a month ago, the ICRC visited Bahrain and sent surgical supplies and first-aid kits to the Bahraini Red Crescent to be distributed to public health facilities or used by its own personnel if needed.

For more information, please contact:
Fouad Bawaba, ICRC Kuwait, tel: +965 9787 9434 or +965 253 22 062
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18